The Test

our blueberry journey series: part 2
I woke up to darkness, but my mind was 100 steps ahead of dreamy slumber. Clean up last night’s dishes, cook chili to feed the troops, sweep the floor of yesterday’s mud, prep the trailer with our gathered tools… the list seemed never ending in anticipation for what was ahead.



For as fast as the day started, the quick decline was noticeable. Waiting for others to arrive, discussing our plan of action, double checking everything was gathered, and tractors were running smooth. Then, we were off. Through our backyard, across into the orchard and down into our neighbor’s yard. Rains have been heavy this past month, and even a few days this week. While there are many things to raise concerns during a transplant of this scale, we never anticipated mud being one of them. We were more concerned about root breakage, the plants stress level, our pre-dug holes being large enough, enough people on-site to help with this whole production, the weather and the list goes on.

The rows between the blueberries have repeatedly been rototilled as a sort of weed prevention, creating soft, loamy soil great for blueberry plants but with recent rains they’re now  8” muddy trenches that span 6’ wide. Our boots slip and slide, for standing to long in one spot creates a suction making it almost impossible to escape.

Rich and I headed over earlier and began with taking our shovel around about 4 plants cutting any intertwined roots. When the team of tractors arrived we hooked the strap to the bucket of the tractor and gave it our first tug. With a fabric based strap, it stretched as the bucked reached it’s max height. Dropping it down we looped it some more trying to create a short enough strap to lift the plant out of the ground. On our second pull we were successful.

I cheered as the guys gave me a half smile, I suppose it was because they knew getting it onto the trailer still lied ahead.



Even pulling our plants from the outer edge the mud gave the tractor some trouble, and when we went in for our second plant the issues were more apparent.

Remember these are our friend’s “antique” tractors that we’re pushing to the max. The weight is all at the front of the tractor which has a weak axel and bucket whose purpose is to move manure. The weight distribution was not on our side after pulling the plant and attempting to retreat back. After our second plant was on the trailer we all kind of stood mystified. We knew what the problem was but the solution seemed outside our scope of tools, resources and money.

Sitting on the trailer as we made our way back to the house, it no doubt felt like defeat. It was quiet, everything was still and everyone’s spirits had significantly dropped. While some may have deemed it impossible, Rich saw it as the next challenge – we did too much prep, and dug way to many holes by hand (see our first post here), to walk away now. We may have lost our first battle, but the blueberry war is not over. It’s time to call in the big guns…

Recently Published

Spring Chickens

Spring Chickens

The countdown to Spring is well underway for farmers, homesteaders and all those anticipating a new batch of chicks! If you’re new to raising baby chicks, most choose to purchase them in the Spring when temperatures begin to rise. This period makes brooding easiest...

A Letter To Our Homestead – 2018

A Letter To Our Homestead – 2018

Dear Homestead, Reflecting on 2018 is an arduous task. Our word of the year was coined early on as Mornicopia. It’s that weird place between mourning and coping -- you can read more about that here. In fact, I contemplated not writing our year end post, but it’s only...